Sibling Differences
Chapter information

The Haunting Burden



Written by




Release date

June 11, 2014

Last chapter

Chapter 7 - Shattered Family

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Chapter 9 - Understandings

Day 208,

Well, I'd say these past few days have been very shaken up for not just my brother and I, but also the Shimabukuro family. Hayao and Ishi have been recovering rapidly well, but they're both far from being completely healed back up. I still can't believe Ryoma's parents are letting me call them by their first names. It's weird, but they said I earned the right to after helping them out. Wakato earned that right as well, but it's hard f

I try to dip my wooden stick into the ink bottle, but there's not a single drop left. Just dried up spots that are useless for writing. I've gone through at least four bottles of this stuff in the last seven months. In Chin Village, an ink bottle costs up to five silver pieces. I can only imagine the price here. Ink is probably bought in gold pieces and I've only seen a couple of those in my whole life; looks like my writing days are over.

But...I really enjoy writing. Sure, I'm an earthbender, and that's a natural gift that I'll always be grateful for...but writing is like this secret talent that I never knew I had. When father gave me the book as a parting gift, telling me to write whatever for him to read later, I never thought I'd find something worth to tell. Even after his tragic death, here I am, still intrigued with every word that makes its way on page after page in my book. At first, the writing was just meant for my father to read when he got back, and even after his death, I continued to write, thinking it was for someone who'd never get the chance to read it. Only now to I realize that I'm writing because I want to. It's my way of letting out my every thought without having to tell anyone. My little written confessions are like the melody of the music that man played the liuquin; it started out with short notes, but it transformed into a passionate extension of expressing emotions.

Although, I will always believe that there's a part of me that still is writing in this book for my deceased father, even if it is a small part. Just thinking about him being dead and mother being the wreck she became after still blows my mind. Ever since we came here into the Shimabukuro household, I've barely spent any time with Wakato, and he's the only family I have left. I miss spending time with him. We used to do everything together when we were little. Maybe I could spend the day together with him to rekindle our sibling relationship. Ryoma's calmed down enough from the break-in to return to work and we could use a stroll around town just with each other. Plus, it would be nice to know the cost of ink around here.

The door to Wakato's room is open, and I catch him waving his butterfly sword around for practice. He intensely stares at the white wall in front of him with sweat running down his face.

"Is there someone there that I can't see, or what?" I ask, catching Wakato's attention. He looks at me, his cheeks mildly flushing out of embarrassment while he smiles sheepishly and nervously chuckles to himself. I enjoy watching him try to fight back his emotions from taking over sometimes.

"What do you want?" Wakato asks me annoyingly.

I still have an empowering smirk across my face from his act of embarrassment. "I've been thinking," I begin as I enter his room and sit on his bed. "Ever since we left home, I really haven't spent that much time with you. We are brother and sister and yeah, the Shimabukuro family is kinda like a family to us, but in a way, we only have each other. I was wondering if you wanted to get out of this house for awhile and just walk around town."

The two of us sit next to each other on his bed in dead silence. Perhaps the thought of us spending time together like we used to didn't occur to him until just now too. He's just staring out his window; his emerald eyes catching the natural sunlight coming through. After a few seconds, he turns his head to face me with a neutral expression.

"I don't know Naomi," he lets out. "I'd be all for it, but the last time all of us were out of the house, Hayao and Ishi got broken into and almost killed."

As much as I hate to admit it, Wakato has a point. Both of them are still resting off their injuries for another couple days. If I left them alone and they got hurt again, Ryoma would never forgive us. I suppose that I was so caught up in the idea of wanting to spend time with my little brother, I forgot about my responsibilities with the Shimabukuro family.

I let out a long, depressed sigh. "You're right," I confess. "I guess we'll just have to hang out when Ryoma gets home. He'll hopefully understand this predicament."

Wakato grins warmly and agrees to my plan. For the next few hours, we care to Hayao and Ishi's every needs. Their wounds are healing well, but there are a few scratches here and there that could use some extra attention. It's one of these moments where I wish I could've been born as a waterbender. They could've been healed quicker. They wouldn't still be too banged up to go to work or do their daily housework. If only we had an idea of who could've done this to them, but all they remember is a buff man with his face covered up. Wakato is still making the effort to check for any clues that could help us find the man, but there's nothing. When the man shattered the box filled with the emergency money, he also broke the Shimabukuro family into a million pieces as well. The box cannot be put back together, but I know we can help fix Hayao and Ishi.

A couple hours go by and Ryoma returns home from his shift. He greets his parents with a smile and even brought back some food from the restaurant he works at. "Here, dad. I know how much you like pan-fried noodles," Ryoma offers.

Hayao grabs a hold of the chopsticks and takes the bowl of fried noodles in his other hand. He takes a single noodle in between his chopsticks, slurps it down, and hums as it makes its way down. He puts the bowl and chopsticks down on the table next to him, thanking his son for the food. Ryoma walks over to his sleeping mother, and quietly places a cup of steaming tea next to the little, glass stained table by her chair.

When Ryoma makes direct eye contact with me, I curl my index finger to myself, motioning him to walk over. As he makes his way towards Wakato and I, I whisper to him what we planned earlier. Despite him being an only child, he understands that I need some sibling time with my brother alone, and tells us to go have a good time.

As Wakato and I walk out the front door and through the massive gardens on both sides of the sidewalk, the most gentle and calm breeze blows against our bodies, cooling us down. I feel so at peace, like nothing can harm me. It certainly sets the mood off to a pleasant start.

We begin our afternoon by grabbing a quick bite to eat in this petite restaurant. Wakato ordered a small dish of roast duck while I got a dish of vegetable soup. It had this semi-bitter taste to it, but still has the flavor that makes your mouth burst with joy that can only be physically shown through by a smile.

However, this isn't the perfect day I pictured in my head. I mean, sure I'm spending time with my brother, but we're not connecting the way I thought we would. It's as if we've drifted apart, but I can't blame either of us for feeling a little awkward. We don't have that much in common and I'd hate to sound like I'm bragging, but Ryoma, the only guy around his age group in his life right now, gets along better with me.

We exit the restaurant, and the sun starts to set. To end off this little outing, I propose a little shopping adventure to buy whatever we want. We find this little cart that sells trinkets which is being run by an intimidating looking man. Something along the cart catches my eye; a bottle of ink just asking for me to purchase it.

"How much for the ink," I ask the man.

"Eight silver pieces," he answers.

Eight silver pieces? Is ink really that much? I thought the prices would be way to much for me to afford, but as I'm counting my coins, I have enough coins to buy it. I feel like this little part of myself has been reborn. I can finish today's book entry. I can write for the next few months. It's one of the most uplifting feelings I've felt since I got here.
Wakato buys himself a dagger that cost him fifteen silver pieces. With the price of our meal today, I'm surprised he had enough, but he was saving up that money for another weapon. I guess this was the one.

"Check out the new weapon, Naomi," Wakato says whilst swaying the dagger left and right. "It's a pearl-handled dagger. I can't wait to master the ways of weaponry someday."

Wakato looks curiously at my hand holding my ink bottle. "What's with the ink?" he asks.

I guess I should tell him. He is aware of the book after all. "It's for the book dad gave me before he left for the war," I explain.

Wakato's eyebrows narrow down and frowns suddenly. "Why bother writing in that thing? Dad told you he'd want to read every page when he got back."



The change in Wakato's mood takes me aback, and his booming yells cause a scene on the street. "I write in that book because I like to write. I didn't think I did, but when I ran out of ink, I realized that I would be nothing if I wasn't--"

"Oh cut it out! You're only writing in it because it makes you feel closer to dad!"

"Well who's to say you aren't buying another weapon to feel closer to dad too!" I fight back.

Wakato's eyes pop out of his head. The next thing I know, he sprints into the forest and disappears before I can catch him. Before I know it, I start to chase after him, hoping that I'm not losing him to our past.

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